Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Design Trend: Double Exposure

Like most people, I've recently discovered and become obsessed with the HBO show, True Detective. But my love affair began with the mesmerizing opening credits by Elastic production studio. The sequence shows double exposure photos of landscapes captured in silhouetted human forms. Visual metaphors at their best. Now I'm seeing double exposures everywhere:

The work of photographer Dan Mountford has been on my radar for a while. This image in particular is a favorite.

And most recently spotted, this advert for PS4's Thief on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn. Not quite the same level of design-sophistication, but it does speak to the strength of the double exposure trend.

Look for more double exposure coming to YA shelves near you ...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

ABRAMS Spring 2014 Covers

We have an incredibly exciting Spring 2014 list for ABRAMS BYR and Amulet Books! Here's a sneak peek at some of the covers I've had the pleasure to design and art direct this season:

 Design by The Heads of State

Illustrated by Amy Bates

Illustrated by Ard Hoyt

Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Note to Aspiring Illustrators

An illustration student emailed me recently asking for advice on getting her work published. I've been in the industry for less than a decade and am by no means an expert, but I can say with certainty that there's no magic formula for instant publishing success. The trick isn't about making good work, it's about getting that good work noticed by the right people. Challenging, but not impossible. Here are some of the things I encouraged her to do:

Maintain a web presence. 

Don't be hard to find. Have a blog, website, or digital platform that shows your best work. Keep it current.

Send postcard mailers to art directors and editors. 

I'm not the only art director who loves getting postcards in the mail. I keep them for reference when I'm hiring for new projects. Don't be afraid to send updated mailers every couple of months—just remember to include your website and contact info so we can find you.

My postcard drawer.

Get involved in the industry.

Stay current on what's happening in the industry and make as many connections as you can. Organizations like SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) help aspiring and even established illustrators connect with folks in the publishing world. Other organizations like the CBC (Children's Book Council) and the Society of Illustrators will offer helpful insights, too. Don't work in a vacuum, get out there and see what other illustrators are doing.

Consider representation from an agent. 

Most publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts or project pitches. Hiring an agent is a little like jumping to the front of the line: It doesn't guarantee success, but you'll have a better chance of getting your work in front of the right people. Good agents have strong working relationships with editors and art directors and know the kind of projects those folks might like. Agents are like partners, find someone you connect with and who understands your work. They will be your second biggest advocate. You should be your first.

Most importantly: Be persistent and patient. 

Getting published rarely—and I mean rarely!—happens overnight. Be persistent. Be patient. Be kind. Repeat.